Stuttgart, Germany-based aerospace company H2FLY has claimed that its demonstrator aircraft, the HY4, set a new world record last week for hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft, flying at an altitude of 7,230 feet. In addition, the company also made the first flight by a hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft between two major airports, flying a 77-mile journey between Stuttgart and Friedrichshafen.
The HY4 is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered four-seat passenger aircraft, developed by DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, an aeronautics and space research center based in Germany. Its powertrain system comprises a hydrogen storage system, low-temperature hydrogen fuel cell, and battery. To save weight, the hydrogen fuel is stored at a pressure of up to 5,800 psi in two carbon-fiber tanks, each located in the two fuselages. The fuel cell converts hydrogen directly into electrical energy, while lithium-ion batteries provide a power boost during moments of peak demand by the 80kW electric motor.
The HY4 aircraft can fly at a cruising speed of 90 mph (145 km/h), a maximum speed of approximately 124 mph (200 km/h), and a range of up to (932 miles) 1,500 km, depending on the speed, load and altitude parameters.
The first flight of the aircraft demonstrator was completed in September 2016 at Stuttgart Airport. Since then, it has made more than 90 test flights and is being used as a test platform to further develop the propulsion system and thus lay the foundation for development work on a hydrogen-electric-powered, 40-seat Dornier 328, which will be developed jointly with Deutsche Aircraft by 2025.
The hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft flew the mission to Friedrichshafen in order to participate in the AERO Friedrichshafen airshow, taking place from April 27th. The appearance will mark the first time the company has displayed the HY4 to the general public. Testing of the aircraft has taken place exclusively in an area around Stuttgart Airport, which serves as a long-term partner of H2Fly and plays a key role in supporting the company with its infrastructure.
“This is a remarkable achievement for H2FLY, as no other hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft has flown between two commercial airports to date,” said Prof. Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO of H2FLY. “We are also thrilled to have set what we believe to be a new world record by reaching an altitude of over 7,000 feet with our HY4 aircraft. We want to thank our long-time partners Stuttgart Airport, University of Ulm, DLR Stuttgart, Friedrichshafen Airport, and AERO Friedrichshafen, for supporting us in our mission to make sustainable travel a reality.”